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40 Important Herbs Used by the Korku Tribes in Betul District (Central India)
Korkus are natives of Central India mainly in the adjourning hill ranges of Satpuda in Madhya Pradesh- India. The age-old herbal experts in the community still rely more on natural ways of treating people in their community rather than believing in synthetic chemical drugs (Acharya and Sancheti, 2005 & 2007). Their age-old knowledge is believed to be passed from generation to generation without any use of pen or paper, through the words of mouth i.e. traditional knowledge. During the course of more than 15 years of scouting and documentation of indigenous knowledge in Satpuda hill ranges, author came across herbal practices performed by the Korkus and pooled information about how they use or rely on medicinal plants and trees for curing their health disorders (Acharya 2004, 2012; Acharya and Shrivastava 2008, 2011) and prepared a digital herbal knowledge library.
This article brings to you about the formulations pertaining to 40 important medicinal herbs and tress applied by the indigenous Korku tribal herbal healers of Betul district in Central India (Madhya Pradesh) for curing range of human health ailments.
Malabar Nut (Adhatoda zeylanica)
About 5ml leaf extract should be consumed to get rid of cough and cold. Decoction of leaf also helps in regularizing the menstrual cycle.
Red Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus)
Two flowers should be dipped in cupful of hot water for 10 minutes and then the water should be taken. It is said to be effective in controlling blood sugar.
Black Ocimum (Ocimum basilicum)
Crush 5-10 leaves and prepare a decoction, this should be placed in ears. It is said that it relieves earache.
Sacred Basil (Ocimum sanctum)
Seeds of Sacred Basil should be chewed two to three times a day. It sets right indigestion and works as an antacid.
Toothache Plant (Spilanthes calva)
Floral bud should be placed on painful tooth or gum, it relieves the pain immediately.
Betel Leaf (Piper betle)
Raw leaf should be chewed to get relief in blockage in heart valves.
Carum (Trachyspermum ammi)
Seeds along with black salt is very beneficial in indigestion.
Wild Ocimum (Ocimum canum)
Leaves should be crushed in water and applied over joints to get rid of joint pains.
Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
Leaves along with a pinch of camphor and little Mustard oil should be applied in backaches.
West Indian Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon citratus)
Leaves should be boiled in water and taken twice a day. It is said to be effective in asthamatic and bronchial problems.
Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora)
Pinch of Camphor and Coriander leaf extract should be placed in nostrils, it helps in curing nasal bleeding.
Bone Setter (Cissus quadrangularis)
Whole plant should be crushed and applied over broken bone areas and tied. It is said to be a good bone setter.
Indian Aloe (Aloe barbadensis)
Gel obtained from the leaves should be taken twice a day, it helps in minimizing high blood pressure.
Indian Asparagus (Asparagus racemosus)
Root powder (about 4g) should be consumed along with a glassful of lukewarm milk everyday, it provides strength to the body.
Mother of Thousands (Bryophyllum pinnatum)
Leaf should be crushed and juice prepared. One glass juice should be taken for 15 days. It expels kidney and urinary stones.
Shoe Flower (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)
Red flowers should be crushed and applied over hair, it works as a conditioner and also stops graying of hair.
Sacred Fig Tree (Ficus religiosa)
Bark of the tree should be boiled in water and applied on hair, it helps in re-growing of hair.
Noddy Ocimum (Ocimum gratissimum)
Leaf decoction along with Camphor and kerosene oil should be applied externally in body ache.
Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum indicum)
Flowers should be boiled and extracted in water and it should be applied of body. It is said that it cures black patches seen usually on the body parts.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Root powder along with hard sugar should be taken twice a day. It is good for vitality and vigor.
Sugar Destroyer (Gymnema sylvestre)
Raw leaves are said to be good for controlling sugar in blood.
Indian Ipecac (Tylophora asthamatica)
Roots of this plant should be added in tea and taken. It cures asthma.
Indian Bdellium Tree (Commiphora wightii)
Twigs should be used as a tooth brush. It works as a strength provider to weakened gums.
Prickly Chaff Flower (Achyranthes aspera)
Seeds should be roasted in earthen pot and taken. It kills hunger and helps in loosing the weight.
Indian Pennywort (Centella asiatica)
Leaves are said to be effective in enhancing the memory power in kids.
Touch Me Not Plant (Mimosa pudica)
Roots of the plants are very good tonic. Roots should be boiled and decoction is prepared. It is taken in case of weakness and impotency.
Red Chilly (Capsicum frutescens)
It should be crushed in Mustard oil and applied externally in joint pains.
Marigold (Tagestes erecta)
Leaves should be applied directly on skin parts affected with eczema.
Five Leaved Chaste Tree (Vitex negundo)
Seeds are known as natural water purifier. Usually handful of seeds are placed in earthen pot. It is said that it purifies the water.
Leptadenia (Leptadenia reticulata)
Leaf extract is said to be good for improving vision and eye disorders.
Chiretta (Swertia chirayita)
Whole plant is effective in controlling high fever. Plant should be boiled in drinking water and filter it. Take the water thrice a day (about 50ml).
Curry Leaf Tree (Murraya koenigii)
Dried leaf should be powdered and taken along with sugar to control acidity.
Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides)
Leaf powder should be applied along with edible oil on skin infected parts.
Indian Long Pepper (Piper longum)
Fruit powder along with honey is very effective in curing cough.
Indian Gooseberry (Emblica officinalis)
Indian Gooseberry should be powdered and taken along with a glassful of water and pinch of Turmeric. It is good heart tonic.
Gulancha Tinospora (Tinospora cordifolia)
Gulancha Tinospora as a climber on Neem tree should be picked and powdered and taken in diabetes.
Mint Ocimum (Ocimum canum var. canum)
Leaves help in acidity and gastric troubles.
Annatto (Bixa orellena)
Seeds should be dipped in Coconut water and taken to control diabetes.
Indian Jaquarity (Abrus precatorius)
Leaves should be chewed in cases of mouth ulcer.
Teri Pods (Caesalpinia crista)
Oil obtained from the seed cures acne and pimples.
Gulf Leaf Flower (Phyllanthus fraternus)
Leaf extract should be taken in case of jaundice.
There is a greater need to document such knowledge and validate it with all major scientific protocols. This will help in availability of safer, cheaper and eco-friendly health solutions purely based on natural substances.
- Acharya, D, Acharya, GS. 2007. Kitchen Garden: A clinic in your backyard. Positive Health, 140 (Oct): 30-32.
- Acharya, D, Sancheti, G. 2005. Indian culinary herbs and their traditional uses. The Essential Herbal, Nov/ Dec: 9-13.
- Acharya, D. 2004. Medicinal plants for curing common ailments in India. Positive Health 102: 28-30.
- Acharya, D. 2012. Adivasiyon ki Aushadhiy Virasat, Aavishkar Publishers Distributors, Jaipur. ISBN: 978-81-7132-706-5.
- Acharya, D. Shrivastava, A. 2008. Indigenous Herbal Medicines (Tribal Formulations and Traditional Herbal Practices). Aavishkar Publishers Distributors, Jaipur. ISBN: 978-81-7910-252-7.
- Acharya, D. Shrivastava, A. 2011. Ethnomedicinal Plants of Gujarat State. Forest Department, Gujarat State, Gandhinagar. ISBN: 8190311484. pp 1 – 414.